Social Media (1)
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Social Media (1)
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Sunday, August 11, 2019 am
Lights in a Dark World (27)
Examples in Every Area – Social Media
We have been addressing how every aspect of our lives has an impact on our example. We have talked about the local church, our financial management, as well as our physical health and mental health. All of these have a bearing on our influence with others. Today I want to address another area of VERY great concern – social media.
I. About Social Media
- What is social media – It is creating social interaction through electronic means, primarily using the internet. Social media is communication with our friends and acquaintances, and in many instances involving groups of people greater than our friends (i.e. friends of friends, etc.)
- Social media is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. It is a part of our society and the world. As of 2015, some 1.581 Billion users around the world use Facebook, with over 1 Billon of them (about 2/3) log in at least once a day. About 72% of adults who are online visit Facebook at least once a month. 91% of millennials (ages 15-23) used Facebook in 2015. And Facebook is not considered the “go to” source for the younger generation. 
As of 2018 2.414 Billion monthly active users globally, with some 244 million users in the US and Canada. 2/3 use it daily (July 2019), 50 of adults over 50 use it (4/21/18), 80% of ages 25-49 use it
NOW, consider this. There are more Facebook users than adherents to Islam (1.7 billion – which is number 2), and it is estimated that by 2020, there will be more Facebook users than believers in Jesus as the Savior (2.5 billion. NOTE: This description of “Christianity” is the world’s definition which means ANYONE that believes in Jesus as Messiah, likely including Catholics, protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, etc. This is NOT the Biblical definition).
THE POINT: This is only ONE medium in social media. It has an impact on our society and is here to stay. We NEED to address it when we think about our example.
- Social media is morally neutral – as with so many things (like money), it is what you do with it. Social media can be used for good (and I firmly believe we should consider this if we are trying to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15-16), or it can be used for evil, or a confusing mixture of both – which is really what we ought to be thinking about.
- Good things associated with social media
- Opportunity to communicate with others around the world. You can connect with old friends and acquaintances. This can lead to many good things.
- Opportunities to evangelize and promote good works and good will. It is a way to reach others – advertising – targeted and more cost effective.
- Opportunities to disseminate good information in a rapid fashion.
- It can be used to encourage and make a positive mark in society.
- It can be a great way to learn, etc.
II. Problems with social media
- Opportunities to communicate and connect with old friends and acquaintances. This can lead to sinful behaviors. There are documents instances of adultery, as a result of these.
- Opportunities to disseminate bad information (dishonest, false or hateful) in a rapid fashion
- It can affect one’s mental health negatively – studies of behaviors on social media networks CAN have adverse effects
- Low self-esteem and confidence – when compared to others.
- It can even lead to depression – again with the realization of others around
- It can lead to envy, jealousy, bitterness and other ungodly attitudes
- It can be addictive behavior – more on this in a moment.
- It doesn’t solve social problems such as loneliness, etc.
- It is permanent – even if you delete it, anyone who has seen something remembers it. And who knows whether or not someone has saved it. And, as we are now seeing, it doesn’t matter how long ago you did something or if you have changed, information in the wrong hands is often used against you.
Consider that many employers look at social media profiles before hiring someone. What if your foolishness in the past caused you to do things that you now regret? A potential employer (or spiritually – a prospect) may decide against you because of that.
- Everything you say and post on social media reflects the real you – how you dress, where you go, how you talk (think about emojis and abbreviations (e.g. OMG), what your real interests are, if you are really honest and thoughtful, etc. Do they see you are more concerned with?
- It can waste time – it is possible that people spend so much time on social media, that other more important matters (which is just about everything) go neglected.
- It can inflate one’s ego – For many, and perhaps one of the greatest problems of social media is this craving for attention. People want to see how many “likes” they can get, and people will go to great lengths to get them.
Many post what I call BULLY MESSAGES – these are the one’s that imply if you don’t like, comment or share with others – you are a bad person in some way – you don’t care, you don’t love God or Jesus, you hate animals, or you are not really their friend, etc.
FRIENDS: The quickest way to get me to ignore a post is by questioning my integrity based upon how I respond to YOUR post.
Often egos are inflated falsely. How many have chosen only friends who agree with them, and as such, they are blinded to reality. How many use social media to brag about themselves?
Or as one posts or shares, is it to build oneself up. Think of one who only posts the positive things about themselves. OR, some are seeking attention by focusing on their struggles and problems (not all ). Are we bragging? NOTE: This is about personal attitude. Some people post the same thing for different reasons. But we need to be brutally honest with ourselves of our motives?
- It can remove personal interaction – one of the problems many have today, including society as a whole, is the lack of personal interaction and conversations. We don’t just meet up and talk anymore. There is always something lost, when we remove the face to face dynamic (with the cell phone shut off).
- It can become addicting – many cannot go without it. Many of the problems with self-worth, depression, envy, etc. are the result of those obsessed with social media
III. How can social media affect my example?
- In so many ways. One thing to remember with social media is that you are communicating with others. Almost as much, as communicating in person.
- Social media reveals your heart, for good or bad. Or worse, it doesn’t reveal the real you because of poor choices in content.
- Things said without thinking can harm your influence – remove opportunities to teach, turn people against even considering the truth, etc.
- It can be the FIRST IMPRESSION someone has of you which is hard to overcome. And considering the prevalence of social media, for many this is where we first meet.
IV. The Bible and our online conduct
- Keep your heart with all diligence – Proverbs 4:23, for out of it springs the issues of life.
- You are always being an influence on others – Matthew 5:13-16, Philippians 2:14-15
- Redeem your time – Ephesians 5:16. It is very easy to waste inordinate amounts of time on social media. EVEN doing perceived good things.
- Control your language – not just profanity, but lies of all sorts (Revelation 21:8), gossip, ugly disputes, insults, etc. Ephesians 4:29, Matthew 15:18-19
- Watch your attitude – we have emphasized the importance of a proper attitude on a regular basis. Do we get hateful or ugly in replies to others, or what we post? James 3:13-16 describes this as the wisdom of this world that is sensual, etc. Ephesians 4:31 – put away bitterness, wrath, anger,…
Are you jealous of others, because they have more “friends” or likes for a particular post? Or maybe, they post something and you are envious of what they have posted about?
- We need face to face interaction with others – 2 John 1:12 – John, even with writing (and snail mail), had things he would rather say in person than by some other form of communication. Also consider Hebrews 10:24-25 – dealing with assembling. We come together to be with each other.
- Who are you associating with? 1 Corinthians 15:33 – this can apply in online situations as well.
Social media is a part of life and can be used for great good. But realize it is also a tool of the world – don’t use it as the world does. Use it to let your like shine in the MIDST of this dark world. Think about it.
 Some of these rules come from various sources, including a recent post by Doy Moyer, in which he listed 12 things to consider before you post or share something on the internet.